• EraMiddle Kingdom
  • Project DirectorLeslie Anne Warden
  • LocationBaheira
  • Project SponsorINFOSOL & The American Philosophical SocietyRoanoke College
  • Project Dates2016-Present

Exposure of a late Old Kingdom wall and plaster work surface.

The Kom el-Hisn Provincialism Project (KHPP) began new excavations at the site of Kom el-Hisn, Baheira governorate, in 2016. Our work specifically targets the Old-Middle Kingdom settlement remains with the aim of studying the activities and population of the site’s erstwhile inhabitants from a local, bottom-up perspective. The stratification of the site and the abundance of artifact types support a reinvestigation of the site with significantly expanded coverage; it offers an excellent case study for life during the Old Kingdom, the transition to the First Intermediate Period, and into the Middle Kingdom. KHPP aims to determine how local power was constructed through investigation of how ‘Egyptian’ was defined by residents of the Western Delta, questioning how urbanism changed over time (if it did), identifying localism when it is visible, and investigating the impetus for change.

In our first season (2016), we re-surveyed and mapped the site as well as excavated test trenches to help identify the presence and extent of Middle Kingdom occupation at the site. Our second season (2018) focused on the south of the kom, where previous excavations indicate the Old Kingdom settlement remains are concentrated. We carried out a magnetic survey of portions of the south of the site with the goal of identifying sub-surface architecture. We further hoped it would provide some indication of the degree of architectural preservation at the site as well as the definite location of the units excavated by the 1980s team (as their map cannot be properly plotted on our own). We ground truthed the magnetic map thus created by digging three 5x5m units over areas of magnetic anomalies, exposing both Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom domestic occupations. The third season (2019) focused on artifact processing, including the development of a ceramics database and business intelligence dashboard in tandem with InfoSol  to help build efficiency in ceramic processing and enable easier use of ceramic big data for social questions.

Processing Old Kingdom ceramics.


List of Team Project Members:

  • Hazem Helmy Shared- Project manager, ceramics assistant, excavator
  • Ahmed Shared- Assistant project manager, excavator
  • Nicholas S. Picardo (Harvard University) -Excavator
  • Paul Grill (InfoSol) -Data specialist
  • Pieter Collet -Draftsperson; surveyor
  • Dr. David S. Anderson (Radford University) -Excavator
  • Dr. Elizabeth Hart -Lithics specialist
  • Emily Marie Coate (University of Memphis) -Excavator
  • Dr. Louise Bertini (American Research Center in Egypt) -Zooarchaeologist
  • May Pwint Thair Chu (University of Cambridge) -Ceramics assistant, excavator
  • Dr. Mennat-Allah el-Dorry -Archaeobotonist
  • Dr. Robert Ryndziewicz (Polish Academy of Sciences) -Magnetometry specialist
  • Dr. Tomasz Herbich (Polish Academy of Sciences) -Magnetometry specialist
CategoryResearch Supporting MembersTopicsArchaeologyThemeArchaeological SitesHistoric PeriodMiddle KingdomLocationLower Egypt